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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Birds - 3. Downy Woodpeckers and Nuthatches

There are many different species of woodpeckers in the world. Locally, the smallest of these is the Downy Woodpecker. You may note the unusual rhythm to its poem; it was meant to mimic the drumming and tapping of this lovely little forest inhabitant. Two species make their homes outside my window - the white and red-breasted varieties. These poems are not complete natural histories of these birds, but are instead observations from my window and yard. If I have erred, I beg your indulgence.

Downy Woodpeckers

 

Downy Woodpecker, black and white,

rules the bird feeder’s morning light;

they intimidate finches bold,

pecking suet cakes left and right.

 

Smallest Piciformes of the fold

as taxonomists have us told;

kin to Sapsucker’s yellow breast,

braving northerly gales so cold.

 

Drumming hollow trunks without rest,

searching faithfully in his quest

for the one who would be his mate,

sharing cavities for the nest.

 

Listen, traveler, watch and wait

for that tapping on tree so straight,

calling you to my arms so tight,

making heartbeats to syncopate.

 

 

 

 

Nuthatches

 

The Nuthatch creeps upon the tree

while feeding upside-down, you see;

he searches branch and bole and bark

to make a meal of seed or flea.

 

He lives in forest, copse or park

from which he comments with a snark

and tells the world just what he thunk

of owls and crows and felines dark.

 

He will a birch or spruce spelunk

to make a nest where he can bunk,

and pass a frigid winter’s hour

before returning to the trunk.

 

At home within the woody tower

this bird makes love upon his bower,

as we might do at half-past three,

though eggs are quite beyond my power.

Comments from observers, poets or naturalists are more than welcome. Thank you for reading these.

Copyright © 2018 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Delightful. I'd love to move a whole family of nuthatches to feed on the fleas waiting to spring loose in my garden. My dogs would thank them :) 

 

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8 minutes ago, AC Benus said:

Delightful. I'd love to move a whole family of nuthatches to feed on the fleas waiting to spring loose in my garden. My dogs would thank them :) 

 

 

You might get Pygmy Nuthatches out your way. Their habits are fun, too - they cluster for warmth in the cold. Nuthatches are some of my favorites. Thanks for reading these little flights about the birds. Glad you liked them. 

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These are delightful :) I could hear the rhythm of the tapping woodpecker, and I especially liked the one about the nuthatches.  You reminded me of when my brother lived nearby and taught my niece and nephew bird identification.  As a toddler my niece could identify different species of woodpeckers and other local birds.  Thanks for the memories :hug: 

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Lovely! I love the rhyme scheme in these poems. And of course, the subject matter of nature is another big plus from me. ^_^

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7 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

These are delightful :) I could hear the rhythm of the tapping woodpecker, and I especially liked the one about the nuthatches.  You reminded me of when my brother lived nearby and taught my niece and nephew bird identification.  As a toddler my niece could identify different species of woodpeckers and other local birds.  Thanks for the memories :hug: 

 

I’m glad these brought you good memories and images. Identifying mystery birds is great fun, especially during spring migrations when so many birds are passing through. Thank you for reading! 

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7 hours ago, ObicanDecko said:

Lovely! I love the rhyme scheme in these poems. And of course, the subject matter of nature is another big plus from me. ^_^

 

I’m very happy you found these enjoyable. The Rubayat rhyme scheme is wonderfully adaptable. It’s a great favorite. If you have a favorite bird that needs a poem, you could let me know. 

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I had  nice thirty minutes or so with my dictionary and google showing me bird pics .  Thank for this.

from which he comments with a snark   I can totally relate.  ;)

 

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The book I have had the longest is one first published in 1934. I have the revised and enlarged edition from 1947. It has been my treasure for over fifty years, purchased used from a library sale... although I haven't always treated it as the treasure it is. It is much traveled and much used, and the back cover is gone, and the spine, while perfectly intact, is barely readable. What is this book? Why of course it is A Field Guide to the Birds by Roger Tory Peterson. I am looking at is as I write. The last time I perused it was when I saw a Northern Flicker in my back yard... I love woodpeckers and their drumming sounds... startling when they break the silence.  I always know exactly where my book is. I have no idea why I'm telling this. What I want to say is that I loved these two poems. Nuthatches is brilliant and amusing, and beautiful. I love the word 'thunk' and how you used it. You characterized these birds perfectly, and showed a bit of yourself in the meantime. Thanks, Parker, for giving me reason to open my dear friend, my 'bird book,' again. :hug: 

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2 hours ago, aditus said:

I had  nice thirty minutes or so with my dictionary and google showing me bird pics .  Thank for this.

from which he comments with a snark   I can totally relate.  ;)

 

 

Some guides suggest our North American Nuthatches call: “Yank, yank...”  but “snark, snark...” is almost as good. And the alarm call at my appearance in the yard certainly could sound that way, perhaps as a comment on my old worn-out boots. Thanks for reading these!

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1 hour ago, Headstall said:

The book I have had the longest is one first published in 1934. I have the revised and enlarged edition from 1947. It has been my treasure for over fifty years, purchased used from a library sale... although I haven't always treated it as the treasure it is. It is much traveled and much used, and the back cover is gone, and the spine, while perfectly intact, is barely readable. What is this book? Why of course it is A Field Guide to the Birds by Roger Tory Peterson. I am looking at is as I write. The last time I perused it was when I saw a Northern Flicker in my back yard... I love woodpeckers and their drumming sounds... startling when they break the silence.  I always know exactly where my book is. I have no idea why I'm telling this. What I want to say is that I loved these two poems. Nuthatches is brilliant and amusing, and beautiful. I love the word 'thunk' and how you used it. You characterized these birds perfectly, and showed a bit of yourself in the meantime. Thanks, Parker, for giving me reason to open my dear friend, my 'bird book,' again. :hug: 

 

Like you, I have an old edition of the RTP Field Guide, which rides in my car, just in case I see some interesting bird wherever I go. It’s a treasured and very useful book. I’ll think of you next time I open mine. Thank you for your really kind comments on these poems. They’re fun to write, especially given the pleasure watching these feathered neighbors give us all. 

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You remind of my childhood in rural Northumberland when both nuthatches and greater spotted woodpeckers were part of my bird a la carte.

On 1/16/2019 at 5:39 PM, Parker Owens said:

I have an old edition of the RTP Field Guide

Mine is on my phone and includes sound files as well as everything else. It doesn't stop the author describing the calls though. Which is just as well - I'd hate to lose such wonderful onomatapoeia which appears so often in these wonderful offerings.

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4 hours ago, northie said:

You remind of my childhood in rural Northumberland when both nuthatches and greater spotted woodpeckers were part of my bird a la carte.

Mine is on my phone and includes sound files as well as everything else. It doesn't stop the author describing the calls though. Which is just as well - I'd hate to lose such wonderful onomatapoeia which appears so often in these wonderful offerings.

Thank you for reading these and for commenting on them. The onomatopoeia are part of my inner vocabulary now, as much as some lines of poetry. 

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